How Life Has Changed for the Customer Who Won Starbucks White Cup Contest

“A whirlwind of amazing things have happened,” said Brita Lynn Thompson.

In the months since her design was chosen as the winner of Starbucks first White Cup Contest, the 20-year-old Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania college student is getting custom orders for her art work from around the world.

“I love being able to make strangers’ ideas come to life,” she said. “Through their requests and my creativity we’re able to develop something beautiful. It’s a breathtaking experience.”

A company-sponsored design competition earlier this year encouraged customers in the U.S. and Canada to decorate a reusable Starbucks cup with customized art, take a photo of it, and submit the design through social media using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest.

Starbucks received almost 4,000 entries in just three weeks. Thompson said she was “speechless” when Starbucks chose her design. The striking black and white image Thompson created is now available on a limited edition cup. Starbucks reusable cups debuted in January of 2013. The 16 fl oz cup is sturdier than paper, but thinner than a typical tumbler with a lifespan of about 30 uses.

Even though the design is exactly as Thompson originally sketched it on a Starbucks cup, she said the final result “looks so official.” Bold zig-zag lines and spontaneous swirls dance around circle, diamond, square and shell shapes that create a contemporary pattern around the iconic Starbucks logo.

Thompson’s artistic style involves creating ornate patterns based on simple shapes.

“I can be walking down the street and see a pattern on the side of a building or on the sidewalk and am inspired by the things that most people don’t necessarily pay attention to,” she said.

A lot more people are paying attention to Thompson’s art these days. Before winning Starbucks White Cup Contest, she hadn’t sold any of her art pieces. Now she’s regularly taking orders for custom art through social media and her Etsy site.

Thompson will receive 25 of the limited-edition cups and will distribute them to people who have supported her passion for art.

“My family and friends are just as excited as I am,” she said. “They can’t wait to hold the official cup in their hands and be able to say ‘my daughter, my sister, my niece, my friend designed this cup.’ The amount of excitement about this cup is out of this world.”

Thompson is equally excited about her future as she plans to transfer to a design school next year to finish her bachelor’s degree.

“I’ve always believed that if you have the creative talent to make other people happy with the simple things you do, why wouldn’t you? That’s what I intend to do,” she said.

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Starbucks to lead first-ever city-wide reusable cup project in California with NextGen Consortium